The Rohingya: Humanitarian Crisis or Security Threat?

The Rohingya: Humanitarian Crisis or Security Threat?

This article is part of “Southeast Asia: Refugees in Crisis,” an ongoing series  by The Diplomat for summer and fall 2015 featuring exclusive articles from scholars and practitioners tackling Southeast Asia’s ongoing refugee crisis.All articles in the series can be found here.

To respond to the alarming rise of stranded persons in the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal, the Royal Thai Government organized the “Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean” on May 29, 2015 in Bangkok. The meeting was convened to address the continuing exodus of migrants and refugees from Myanmar. These refugees are mainly Rohingya, a Muslim minority group. They have been treated as “second-class” and”non citizens,” suffering from social discrimination, massive violent repression, human rights violations, and political exclusion. In addition to repressive policies by the central government, the Rohingya have also faced extremely anti-Muslim sentiments fanned partly by government-supported Buddhist fundamentalism in Myanmar.

The Southeast Asian and South Asian region has witnessed tremendous human movement – including hundreds of thousands refugees from Myanmar trying to enter neighboring countries illegally – especially Bangladesh. However, despite the increasingly dire humanitarian crisis, most of the potential host states are reluctant to accept more Rohingya refugees. One of the major reasons for this is an increasing trend in the region of viewing the Rohingya issue not solely as a humanitarian issue, but also a security and political one. As awareness has grown in both dimensions – humanitarian and security – there is a growing recognition among the international community of the need to do more than just ignoring the worsening situation of the Rohingya.

Historically, the Rohingya are predominantly Muslim and closely related to the Bengali people. Originally, many of them migrated from the Indian subcontinent towards the east into ‘Theravada Buddhist Myanmar,’ especially during the British colonial time. Relations between Muslims and Buddhists in Myanmar started deteriorating during the country’s liberation struggle. Relatively soon after gaining independence, the new rulers in Myanmar identified the Rohingya as economic refugees, a move that would be significant to the socio-economic composition and political power structure of the country. A policy of repression soon followed, which treated the Rohingya as illegal migrants subject to eviction.

The severity of the Rohingya migration issue can be understood as a clear result of three intermingling factors.  First is the emergence of authoritarian (military) regimes in Myanmar. Second is the consequence of a cultural confrontation between different ethnic-religious communities in Myanmar. This conflict gained significance after the military rulers attempted to assimilate religious-ethnic minorities into the mainstream Burmese culture. A strategy of an enforced cultural unification, namely Burmanization, was used as a way of “National Reconsolidation.” Third is the initial ignorance and inaction from policymakers worldwide despite the fact that the Rohingya issue was increasingly having international implications.

Today, it would seem that awareness of the Rohingya and their illegal migration is finally rising within the international community. In part, however, this new attention to the Rohingya issue stems from the tendency to identify Rohingya refugees as a “non-traditional security threat.”

In particular, there is a growing conviction among analysts that the massive influx of the Rohingyas during the last decades is creating a multidimensional security crisis. As stateless refugees, they have become the face of security threats as well as various forms of psycho-social and human security challenges in Myanmar and in their new host countries across the region like Bangladesh.

Most Rohingya who have migrated to other countries live in extraordinarily deplorable conditions. Living in forms of involuntarily and illegal self-settlement, they have to deal regularly with security forces, the unease and resistance of local communities, and restricted access to food, drinking water, sufficient shelter, and clothing. Partly as a result of these circumstances, they are often more easily targeted by criminal networks, illegal businesses, and Islamic fundamentalist groups like the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), or Harkat-ulJihad-al Islami (Huji).

This in turn leads illegal Rohingya migrants – particularly those living in illegal camps or unregistered as refugees – to be perceived as the cause of conflict. The movement of Rohingya refugees begins to be viewed through the prism of the rising challenge of controlling Islamic terrorism and political Islam in the region.

At the heart of this view is the following worry: the Rohingya problem is contributing to and is partly responsible for the rise of international jihadist movements. In more operational terms, there is the claim that the Rohingya are helping to support Islamic fundamentalism by acting as a (passive) recruiting base for Islamic militant extremists and through direct support for religious fundamentalism.

It is claimed that some radicalized sections of the refugees actively maintain links with banned Islamist groupings like JMB or Huji. Some radicalized Rohingya are accused of not only sympathizing with their fundamentalist worldview but also actively providing resources for these Islamist outfits, for example, providing training on arms and explosives. Additionally, there is the accusation that the Rohingya are using their international network to allocate funds from like-minded international organizations for militant groups operating in their host countries, especially in Bangladesh.

Rohingya have also been held responsible for the undermining of the general law and order situation in their host societies. Besides terrorism, extremist violence, and religious extremism, the Rohingya crisis is also seen as being associated with all kinds of criminal activities including narcotics, human trafficking, illegal trade in SALW (small arms and light weapons) and ammunition, stealing, armed robbery, and maritime piracy. Other major concerns are smuggling and illegal cross-border infiltrations.

Additionally, Rohingya have increasingly linked with growing rates of crimes related to extortion, sexual harassment (including prostitution and sexual slavery), killings for organs, domestic servitude, and forced labor by criminal networks in their host countries.

However, there is the tendency among authorities of host countries to ignore the fact that the Rohingya are mostly the victims and not the perpetrators in these scenarios. Rather, it seems that the general tendency up to this point has been to focus on the refugee crisis as the causal factor for the increase in security concerns.

Rohingya have also been identified by some host governments and local communities as a negative disturbance to local economies, especially when they are settling in underdeveloped regions. Some fear that the Rohingya constitute an additional demographic pressure on the already densely populated area with scarce resources. Others claim that the (mostly illegal) penetration of the refugees in regional job markets leads to further socio-economic inequalities and reduces employment opportunities for the local workforce.

Still others suggest that security measures are needed because the refugee crisis is causing instability, leading to a real reduction in trade and commerce, especially in the Bangladesh-Myanmar relations. In this context, Rohingya are also blamed by state authorities for delays in enhancing regional connectivity (infrastructure) and hampering the working relationship between Dhaka and Naypyidaw.

With bilateral talks between Malaysia and Indonesia and the earlier mentioned Bangkok conference on “irregular migrations”

Source by: http://thediplomat.com/2015/10/the-rohingya-humanitarian-crisis-or-security-threat/

on May 29, as well as other steps, the international approach to the Rohingya is finally moving from ignorance to action. But it would be naïve to think this trajectory is only due to the humanitarian crisis of the refugees. Rather, the negative impacts of illegal migration – particularly on the security side – have finally convinced the international community to act, even though this may be based on unfounded fears.

Given this, what is most important is to preserve the political will and to strengthen the decision-making procedures in order to work towards a coherent and comprehensive solution to the Rohingya problem. Attending to security concerns cannot be done at the expense of humanitarian needs.

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

Myanmar Authorities Dupe UN Human Rights Rapporteur into Visiting Wrong Place

Myanmar Authorities Dupe UN Human Rights Rapporteur into Visiting Wrong Place

By Anwar M.S.January 16, 2017 Myanmar Authorities Dupe UN Human Rights Rapporteur into Visiting Wrong Place

Maungdaw — The Myanmar authorities accompanying Ms. Yanghee Lee, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar who is on a four-day visit in Arakan, duped her into visiting a wrong village in southern Maungdaw last Saturday (Jan 14), it has been reported. 

On Saturday morning, the UN Rapporteur set off to meet the villagers of ‘Koetankauk (Dounsay Fara) in Rathedaung Township as initially scheduled. However, the authorities took her to the village of ‘Thawan Chaung’ in southern Maungdaw bypassing ‘KoeTankauk’ (in northern Rathedaung).

She came to know she was in a wrong place when she asked the villagers of Thawan Chaung after being in the village. Angered with the accompanying authorities double-crossing her, she left the place and didn’t return to ‘KoeTankauk’ village again.

On Sunday (Jan 15) morning, she visited the violence-hit northern Maungdaw region which has been sealed off since the Myanmar military began offensives on the Rohingya civilians in the region on October 9, 2016.

Deceived by the Myanmar Authorities once earlier, she asked the authorities to stop accompanying her in northern Maungdaw and instead, she chose to visit a few Rohingya villages in the region on her own accompanied only by her interpreters.

She visited the village of Kyikanpyin (locally known as Hawar Bil) and met up with the villagers especially women. After that, she visited Wapeik (Wabek) village but couldn’t meet anyone as the village had been deserted by the villagers due to brutal operations by the Myanmar armed forces (i.e. the Military and the Border Guard Police).

Post that, she visited a few other Rohingya villages such as KyetYoePyin (Kiyari Ferang), PyaungPaik (Haant Gojja Fara), Ngakura (Nagpura) and Sinthaepyin (Haanti Fara).

During the visits by the UN Rapporteur especially without any members of Myanmar armed force accompanying her , the victims in the region were able to open up to her how the Myanmar armed forces torched their homes, unlawfully killed hundreds of innocent people, raped more than 200 women, arbitrarily arrested hundreds of civilians and plundered their properties. It has been learnt that Ms. Yanghee Lee got chance to also talk to some victim women who have become pregnant after being raped by the Myanmar forces.

Some locals in Maungdaw have raised their concerns over the possible distortions in interpretations by a female interpreter named Ms. Khet Khet that accompanied the UN Rapporteur during the visits. The interpreter is a Rakhine woman known for being an anti-Muslim racist remarks on the Rohingya during her term with UNHCR as a Community Development Facilitator in Arakan State.

Ms. Lee’s trip to assess the human rights situation in Arakan will end today and overall it could be considered successful one.

Source by: http://www.rvisiontv.com

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

OIC Looks To Restore Rohingya’s Status In Myanmar – Syed Hamid

OIC Looks To Restore Rohingya’s Status In Myanmar – Syed Hamid

Pic: BernamaPic: Bernama

PETALING JAYA: The emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Foreign Ministers this Thursday in Kuala Lumpur will discuss restoring the status of the Rohingya in Myanmar.

OIC Special Envoy for Myanmar Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said the main objective was to create protection for the ethnic minority, whose rights as citizens have been denied.

“Malaysia proposed the meeting because of the urgency of the matter, and not because we want to interfere in Myanmar’s internal affairs. Neither do we want to confront the Myanmar government.

“This is not a communal issue as claimed by the government but rather a religious issue because they (the Myanmarese) are targeting Muslims in their conflict with the Rohingya,” he told Bernama here today.

The ongoing troubles in the Rakhine state had caused thousands of Rohingya to flee Myanmmar with reports of atrocities, including rape and murder. Whole villages are said to have been burned to the ground, in some cases with the residents still in their houses.

The actions of the Myanmmar security forces against the Rohingya were a gross violation of human rights, Syed Hamid said, adding that the conflict could threaten the peace, security and economy of the region and encourage radicalism.

“We support the Myanmar government’s effort to transform the country to become a much better nation under the new leadership. But the transformation must be inclusive of all sectors of its society.

“They must acknowledge the existence of the Rohingya, whose citizenship was stripped for no reason. They are the natives of the country and, without that recognition, the problem will continue to overflow to neighbouring states,” he said.

The former foreign minister also expressed concern over the Myanmar government’s refusal to allow the Food Flotilla Mission to enter the country to distribute humanitarian aid to the Rohingya.

“They have allowed the humanitarian mission from Indonesia to enter. Why can’t they allow this flotilla mission to enter as well?

“They must understand that the flotilla is organised by a non-governmental organisation and will include NGOs from other countries. It is not organised by the Malaysian government,” he added.

Syed Hamid also said that the Asean community, which Myanmar de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has referred to as a family, must respect and understand its obligations not only under the Asean Charter but also international law.

Source: Bernama

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

Worldwide Statement: Request OIC to support UN Commission of Inquiry

Worldwide Statement: Request OIC to support UN Commission of Inquiry

Men from a Rohingya village outside Maugndaw in Rakhine state, Myanmar October 27, 2016. Picture taken October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
 
Statement from Rohingya Communities Worldwide
 
Request OIC to support UN Commission of Inquiry
17th January 2017
We, the undersigned organisations, representing Rohingya communities around the world, would like to express our deepest appreciation to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Government of Malaysia with Honourable Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for holding an Emergency Meeting of the OIC Foreign Ministers on Rohingya crisis on 19 January in Kuala Lumpur.
The longstanding Rohingya problem of ethnic, religious and political problem has been going on for over seven decades from 1942 Muslim Massacre in Arakan. Particularly the successive military regimes from 1962 have been making all out efforts to annihilate the Rohingya people from their ancestral homeland of Arakan, by means of frequent armed operations and oppressive laws under consistent state policies of discrimination, exclusion and extermination against them. In violation of the customary international law the military had enacted the world’s most oppressive Myanmar Citizenship Law of 1982 criminally depriving the Rohingya of their right to nationality as well as their human rights and freedom.
Due to mass atrocity crimes, more than half of the Rohingya population has had left the country. Those who are still in Arakan are being systematically destroyed since 1978. From June 2012 state-sponsored genocidal onslaughts occurred and reoccurred in Arakan and about 3,000 Rohingya were killed, drowned and missing in addition to large-scale destruction of their villages, mosques and madarassas and properties. More than 140,000 displaced Rohingya were herded to squalid semi-concentration camps while over 100,000 escaped persecution to take refuge in foreign countries.
From 9 October 2016, under the pretext of hunting down the assailants of the police outposts, the military, security forces and Buddhist Rakhine militias have been carrying mass atrocity crimes creating the Maungdaw district a “killing zone”, unobserved by the outside world due to sealing off the area in Northern Arakan. An estimated 500 people were killed or burned down; at least 300 women and girls were raped, unknown number of people arrested, about 2500 houses torched, valuables and properties looted and foodstuff destroyed forcing about 65,000 people to cross over to Bangladesh. These crimes are still on-going. State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been protecting the criminal military, is morally and officially responsible for the crimes against Rohingya that amount to genocide and crimes against humanity as per Articles 6 and 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (1998). The UN Human Rights Commission stated that violation of human rights of Rohingya may constitute crimes against humanity.
The Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD-led government has manifestly failed or is unwilling to conduct any credible investigation into atrocity crimes against Rohingya. Instead the government with the military is shamelessly denying any human rights violations against them. Thus the defenceless Rohingya continue to be subjected to crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. In the absence of national protection, the international community has a responsibility to intervene into Arakan in order to end the violations and protect the civilian population.
We therefore call upon the OIC and its member states to officially support the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry into the totality of the situation in Rakhine State, where most Rohingya live.
We further call upon the OIC to endeavour utmost for ensuring that the establishment of such a Commission is included in the Burma/Myanmar resolution at the next session of the Human Rights Council.
We believe that the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry is a crucial first step to start to address the cycle of discrimination, persecution and violence our people face. The Commission must investigate human rights violations which have taken place in order to establish the truth, investigate government laws and policies used against the Rohingya, and make recommendations to the government of Burma/Myanmar and the international community on how to address the situation, ensuring strict compliance with international law and human rights standards.
Our existence as a race is under threat. Failure to act now will prolong our suffering and create greater regional problems and insecurity in the future, and hence we look to you for help in our most desperate hour.
Signatories:
  1. Arakan Rohingya National Organisation
  2. Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK
  3. British Rohingya Community in UK
  4. Burmese Rohingya Community in Denmark
  5. Burmese Rohingya Association Japan
  6. Burmese Rohingya Community Australia
  7. Burmese Rohingya Association in Queensland-Australia (BRAQA)
  8. Canadian Burmese Rohingya Organisation
  9. Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organisation in Malaysia (MERHROM)
  10. Rohingya American Society
  11. Rohingya Arakanese Refugee Committee
  12. Rohingya Community in Germany
  13. Rohingya Community in Switzerland
  14. Rohingya Community in Finland
  15. Rohingya Community in Italy
  16. Rohingya Community in Sweden
  17. Rohingya Organisation Norway
  18. Rohingya Society Malaysia
  19. Rohingya Society Netherlands
For more information, please contact:
Tun Khin (Mobile): +44 7888714866
Nay San Lwin (Mobile): +49 69 26022349
Ko Ko Lin (Mobile): +880 1726068413

 

Source by: http://www.rohingyablogger.com

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

UN’s Yanghee Lee denied access to Rohingya villages

UN’s Yanghee Lee denied access to Rohingya villages

UN special rapporteur Yanghee Lee looking into country’s human rights record, including alleged abuses against Rohingya.


Northern Rahkine has been under strict military lockdown since October [AFP]

UN special rapporteur on human rights Yanghee Lee has been denied access to some areas in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State, with the government citing “security concerns” for its decision.

Al Jazeera also learned on Sunday that Lee was only allowed to speak to individuals who were pre-approved by the government while she visited Muslim Rohingya villages in the area.

“These are things that will certainly hamper her investigation,” Al Jazeera’s Florence Looi, reporting from Sittwe, said. “Lack of access will make her job more difficult.”

As part of her 12-day visit to Myanmar, Lee is spending three days in Rakhine – home to around 1.2 million stateless Rohingya, a Muslim minority that has suffered decades of poverty and repression, and been denied basic rights such as citizenship and freedom of movement.

READ MORE: Global leaders warn Aung San Suu Kyi over Rohingya

Lee also visited the border guard posts, attacked in October, as well as a prison.

Northern Rakhine has been under strict military lockdown since October 9, when a gang killed nine border police officials near the border with Bangladesh, leading to a clampdown that has left anywhere between 84 and 400 Rohingya dead.

According to the UN, at least 65,000 Rohingya have reportedly fled across the border to Bangladesh to escape violence allegedly committed by the military, including the burning of homes, rape and murder of civilians.

The Myanmar government and military have denied all the allegations.

On Friday, Lee met Muslim community leaders during her visit to a Rohingya neighbourhood in Sittwe.

Lee also visited border guard posts, the attacks on which in early October triggered clearance operations by the military.

But a powerful ethnic party rejected a request for a meeting with Lee on Friday evening.

“We are not meeting her because we don’t believe she and her organisation [the UN] have a will to resolve the issues fairly,” Ba Swe, joint secretary of the Arakan National Party, told Anadolu Agency on Saturday.

UN special rapporteur on Myanmar Yanghee Lee (C) departs from Sittwe to visit areas of northern Rakhine State on Saturday [AFP]

“The issues will never be solved as long as they accept these Bengalis as members of this country’s ethnic groups,” Ba Swe said, using a term that suggests Rohingya are illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.

International pressure

The crisis in Myanmar has put Aung San Suu Kyi’s administration under international pressure, with rights watchdog Human Rights Watch criticising the government of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate for failing to hold the country’s military accountable for the crackdown on Rohingya.

Lee continues her travels through the conflict zone on Sunday before returning to Yangon later in the week.

Al Jazeera’s Looi also said the UN envoy will also look into reports that the flow of aid to Rohingya has been “severely curtailed” since the military operation began three months ago.

“The UN said they are concerned about the rising rate of malnutrition among the Rohingya in this area, because this is an area, where food security is already in doubt,” Looi said, adding that as many as 150,000 people are dependent on aid.

Across the border in Bangladesh, Al Jazeera’s Maher Sattar, who is reporting from Cox’s Bazar, said Rohingya refugees have also corroborated reports of abuse.

“We’ve come across people, who have been shot. We’ve come across children. Every single person here, they are quite unanimous in their stories of villages being burned and relatives being killed.”

A law passed in Myanmar in 1982 denies Rohingya – many of whom have lived in Myanmar for generations – citizenship, making them stateless.

The law denies Rohingya rights to Myanmar nationality, removes their freedom of movement, access to education and services, and allows arbitrary confiscation of property.

Rohingya have fled Myanmar in droves for decades, with a new wave of migrations occurring since mid-2012 after communal violence broke out.

Because of their lack of citizenship, they are also considered as refugees in Bangladesh, and many of them are confined in refugee camps for decades.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

Military Threatens Rohingya Villagers amid the Visit of UN Human Rights Rapporteur

Military Threatens Rohingya Villagers amid the Visit of UN Human Rights Rapporteur

By Anwar M.S.
January 14, 2017

Military Threatens Rohingya Villagers amid the Visit of UN Human Rights Rapporteur

By Rohingya Eye and Rohingya Mirror

January 14, 2017

Maungdaw — The Myanmar military have threatened and ordered the Rohingya villagers in northern Maungdaw to refrain from meeting Ms. Yanghee Lee, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, who is currently on a four-day visit in the violence-hit Arakan State, it has been reported.

The locals in Northern Maungdaw desperately willing meet the U.N. Human Rights Rapporteur also express fears of more physical and sexual violence by the military after she leaves the region as a military commander has threatened the locals with reprisals in case of meeting with her.

“The commander of the Battalion 551 in Northern Maungdaw summoned the administrator of ‘Oo Shye Kyar’ village and warned him to not let any of his villagers meet with any outsider (referring to Ms. Yanghee Lee) in the absence of his knowledge/permission and ordered him (The village administrator) to ask other village administrators in the region to do the same. He said failures to follow his order would result in significant punishments” said U Aye Myint, a human rights activist based in Maungdaw.

During the time of Tomas Quintana, the former UN Special Rapporteur to Myanmar and predecessor of Ms. Yang, the Myanmar military and other security forces in Arakan used similar same terror tactics to suppress the voices of the victims of the state-sponsored violence back in 2012.

Ms. Yanghee Lee arrived in Sittwe (Akyab) on Friday evening (Jan 13) and met the Rohingya elders in Quarter and this (Jan 14 morning), she visited Koetankauk and Shilhali villages in Rathedaung Township, where she visited the Koetankauk BGP post and met with local villagers and displaced people (IDP) and also with some local Rakhines in the region.

This afternoon, she left Rathedaung for northern Maungdaw and after that, she is due to visit Buthidaung Prison on January 15.

In Northern Maungdaw, she is set to visit the Rohingya villages — such as Kyikanpyin, Wapeik, Kyet Yoe Pyin and Ywa Ma etc — that have come under indiscriminate attacks of the Myanmar military since October 2016 and ‘Shwe Baho’ monastery in Maungdaw.

After visiting ‘Shwe Zedi’ monastery and the Sittwe Prison tomorrow (on January 16), she will conclude her visit to observe human rights situation in Arakan State.

Ms. Yanghee Lee is on a 12-day visit to Myanmar to assess human rights situation in the country. Earlier, she visited the war-torn Kachin state, where Burmese military have been waging wars with Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and assaulting civilians for years. She will submit the reports of her assessments on human rights situation in Myanmar to UN Human Rights Assembly in March, 2017.

Update: in Koetankauk and Shilhali in Rathedaung, Ms. Yanghee Lee only selectively met with some Rohingya women. No male members of the Rohingya community were not able to approach her.

However, the local Rohingyas are pretty confident that she got some true accounts from the women of the atrocity crimes by the Myanmar armed forces against the Rohingya community.

Source by: http://www.rvisiontv.com

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

Displaced Rakhine Muslim women share their shocking stories

Displaced Rakhine Muslim women share their shocking stories

Bangladesh mounts pressure on Myanmar to take back their nationals

UNB, Dhaka

Keeping themselves confined to a tiny room with no light inside, two young Rakhine Muslim women were struggling to get rid of the trauma and forget the brutality they had gone through.

They remained speechless for minutes seeing the presence of a newsman at Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia. Later, they revealed the horrors — reprisals, rape and burning people and houses.

“We’re asked to get undressed and look up at the sun…we were left naked and with no food and water before being gang-raped (by Myanmar forces),” Hosne Ara (not her real name), a 25-year-old Myanmar national, told UNB narrating the horrible torture perpetrated on her and her relatives.

Hosne Ara, hailing from Kyari Parang village from Myanmar side, said her husband Sona Miah and her son Ibrahim got confined to their house when Myanmar forces put their house on fire.

“I was caught by several soldiers. The soldiers had previously gathered women of the village and took all of them to nearby paddy fields where they were all raped one after another,” she recalled avoiding the eye contact.

Nur Sufia, another 20-year-old woman, sitting beside Hosne Ara, was also sharing a similar sad story.

“On December 10, soldiers came to my house and burned it down. I managed to escape with my two kids — Mohammed Selim, 4, and 18-month-old Noor Kayes,” Sufia told UNB.

She said four soldiers caught her and raped her before shooting the kids in their heads. “My husband and two brothers were burned in the fire.”

Though a commission probing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State denied security forces had abused Rohingya, anyone can see totally a different picture while talking to the new arrivals from Myanmar here in Bangladesh.

Around 65,000 people fled Myanmar and entered Bangladesh since October 9 last and the influx is still on, according to officials at the Foreign Ministry.

Nur Mohammad, who arrived in Bangladesh 20 years back from Myanmar, told UNB that people are still crossing the border secretly and taking shelter in Bangladesh.

“Those who arrived here are unwilling to go back to Myanmar fearing further attacks. The international community needs to put genuine pressure on Myanmar so that peace and stability are restored in Rakhine State,” he said.

It is very difficult to digest the stories being unfolded from the victims who took shelter in Bangladesh side, Nur added.

Arafat Ara, another victim, said the Na’f River has lot of stories to tell. “Through this river, I have been able to arrive here. Journeys of many people to Bangladesh for shelter ended halfway,” said the 25-year-old Rakhine Muslim woman who took a boat journey through the Na’f river with her five children.

Describing tortures on Rohingya people by Myanmar forces, Dudu Miah, a community leader in Leda unregistered refugee camp, told UNB that the United Nations needs to deploy peacekeepers there to restore peace.

“We had full support for Aung San Suu Kyi in the past. Now she is not talking about Muslims. We’ve no hope right now,” he said adding that Rohingya people will get back to their homeland if their rights are protected.

Bangladesh has already clearly conveyed Myanmar side to take back all Myanmar nationals — documented, undocumented and new arrivals – as soon as possible.

Bangladesh has also proposed a coordinated and holistic approach to stop marginalisation of Rakhine Muslims, restore peace and stability in Rakhine State ensuring their livelihoods so that Myanmar nationals living in Bangladesh feel encouraged to return home.

As part of mounting international pressure on Myanmar, the member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will come together in Kuala Lumpur on January 19 to discuss possible remedies to the situation of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar.

This is going to be an ‘extraordinary’ meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers where Bangladesh will place its position on overall situation apart from the latest developments on the Rohingya issue.

Myanmar’s special envoy and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Kyaw Tin who arrived here on Tuesday evening, discussed bilateral issues with special focus on Rohingya crisis during his meetings with Bangladesh.

Sharing the outcomes of the meetings, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali on Thursday said Bangladesh is ‘quite evidently’ heading towards the next step to have a permanent solution to Rohingya issue. “Surely, they’ll have to take back their (Myanmar) nationals (documented, undocumented and new arrivals).”

Bangladesh has also proposed forming a proper body to verify the citizenship of Myanmar nationals and Rakhine Muslims who took shelter here.

Both Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to quickly sign two under-discussion MoUs on security dialogue and cooperation; and border liaison office to boost security cooperation between the two countries.

Bangladesh thinks Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar are extremely important and tourism development activities and stability are being hampered there due to recent arrivals from Myanmar and over 3 lakh undocumented Myanmar nationals.

Bangladesh also placed a demand for bringing back normalcy in Rakhine State so that Myanmar nationals staying in Bangladesh can go back to their home safely and with dignitary.

Source by: http://www.thedailystar.net

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

Urgent Action: Myanmar – Torture fears for hundreds Rohingya detained

Urgent Action: Myanmar – Torture fears for hundreds Rohingya detained

January 12, 2017
URGENT ACTION
 
TORTURE FEARS FOR HUNDREDS ROHINGYA DETAINED
Hundreds of Rohingya have been detained as part of the ongoing security operation in northern Rakhine State, Myanmar. To date, no official information about where the individuals are being held or what they are accused of has been made public. All are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment and of being subjected to unfair trials.
Myanmar authorities have, according to a governmental Investigation Commission, arrested and “taken legal action” against 485 people since 9 October 2016. Among them are village leaders, business owners, religious leaders and Arabic teachers as well as ordinary villagers. In some instances, men failed to return after being summoned to security force headquarters, while others were arrested by state security forces during village sweeps to find suspected assailants and stolen weapons. Relatives have told Amnesty International they do not know where their loved ones are being detained, what they have been charged with or whether they have access to any lawyer. The absence of any information about these detainees for several months raises concerns that they could be victims of enforced disappearance.
Testimonies collected by Amnesty International reveal that some arrests have been accompanied or followed by torture and other ill-treatment. In October, two young Rohingya men from northern Maungdaw Township were beaten by state security forces for 30 minutes before being taken away. In November, soldiers and police officers beat a man from Kyet Yoe Pyin village with rods to get him to disclose the location of suspected militants. A video posted online in December also showed police beat a Rohingya boy during a security sweep. According to state media six people have died in custody since 9 October, including Kalim Ullah, a 58-year-old former UN worker, who died three days after being arrested in Ridar village on 14 October.
Those who speak out about human rights violations in Rakhine State also risk arbitrary arrest and other reprisals.
Please write immediately in English, Burmese or your own language urging the Myanmar authorities to:
– Immediately disclose the fate and whereabouts of all individuals detained during these security operations and ensure that they are treated humanely, allowed effective, prompt and regular access to their family, lawyers of their own choosing and adequate medical care;
– Immediately release all detainees unless they are promptly charged with an internationally recognizable offence. In such cases, ensure all trials meet international standards of fairness, without recourse to the death penalty, and all detainees are transferred to recognized places of detention;
– Undertake independent, impartial and effective investigations into deaths in custody and allegations of torture or other ill-treatment by the security forces. Those suspected to be responsible – including those with command responsibility – should be brought to justice in trials which meet international standards of fairness, without recourse to the death penalty.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 23 FEBRUARY 2017 TO:
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
State Counsellor
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Office No. 9
Nay Pyi Taw
Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Fax: + 95 (0) 67412396
Salutation: Your Excellency
Lt. Gen. Kyaw Swe
Minister of Home Affairs
Office No. 10, Nay Pyi Taw
Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Fax: +95 67 412 439
Salutation: Dear Minister
And copies to:
Chairman, Myanmar National Human Rights Commission
U Win Mra
27 Pyay Road, Hlaing Township, Yangon Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Fax: + 95 1 659 668
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
On 9 October 2016 several hundred men, believed to be part of a militant group comprised primarily of individuals from the Rohingya ethnic group, attacked border police outposts in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State, killing six border police and seizing weapons and ammunition. Security forces responded by launching a major security operation, conducting “clearance operations” and sealing the area, effectively barring humanitarian organizations, media and independent human rights monitors from entering.
Since then, Amnesty International has documented a litany of human rights violations against the Rohingya community in northern Rakhine State committed by the security forces – in particular the military. These include unlawful killings and random firing on civilians, arbitrary arrests, torture and other ill-treatment, rape and other crimes of sexual violence, mass destruction of Rohingya buildings, looting of property, and arbitrary confiscation of important identity documents. For further information see Amnesty International report: “We are at breaking point” – Rohingya: Persecuted in Myanmar, neglected in Bangladesh (Index: ASA 16/5362/2016), available at: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa16/5362/2016/en/
International law and standards prohibit the arbitrary deprivation of liberty and contain a number of safeguards ensuring detainees’ rights to due process and to freedom from torture and other ill-treatment. Among them are: the right to notify family or another third person; the right to legal counsel; the right to medical assistance; the right to be brought promptly before a judge and to challenge the lawfulness of detention; the right to silence and not to incriminate oneself. Denial of the right to communicate with the outside world – that is, holding a person in incommunicado detention – clearly breaches these standards. The UN General Assembly has repeatedly stated that “prolonged incommunicado detention or detention in secret places can facilitate the perpetration of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and can in itself constitute a form of such treatment.”
On 1 December 2016, President U Htin Kyaw announced the establishment of the Investigation Commission to probe the attacks on 9 October, and 12 and 13 November 2016, and alleged human rights abuses. The Commission is scheduled to report to the President by 31 January 2017; however, given that its membership includes high ranking former and current military and government personnel, Amnesty International does not consider the Commission capable of carrying out an independent, credible investigation.
The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic minority who live mainly in Rakhine State which borders Bangladesh. They have faced decades of persecution at the hands of the Myanmar authorities, however their situation has significantly deteriorated since waves of violence between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims (mainly Rohingya) swept through Rakhine State in 2012 leading to scores of deaths, mass displacement and the destruction of property. Rohingya’s right to freedom of movement is severely restricted, which impacts their ability to access education and healthcare, to practice their religion and access livelihood opportunities.
Name: Kalim Ullah, Rohingyas detained during security operations
Gender m/f: both

 

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

Is the Myanmar government and military flirting with ‘acts of genocide’ against the Rohingya?

Is the Myanmar government and military flirting with ‘acts of genocide’ against the Rohingya?

By Michaelgkarnavas

International Criminal Law Blog

As a responsible Government, you don’t just go around hollering ‘genocide.’ You say that acts of genocide may have occurred and they need to be investigated.
David Rawson, United States Ambassador to Rwanda1

The Rohingya in Myanmar have by all accounts – save for those of the Myanmar government and military – been on the receiving end since at least 2012 of consistent, widespread, presumably organized, and arguably sanctioned acts of violence amounting to crimes against humanity. Take your pick of alleged crimes: persecution, rape, murder, forcible transfer, deportation, extermination, arbitrary detention and imprisonment, and arguably, apartheid.  The full treatment.

Ethnic cleansing with tinges of genocidal acts seems to be the obvious goal, or more ominously put, the desired solution: to expel and, if necessary, eradicate the Rohingya Muslims from the Rakhine state of Myanmar. Meanwhile, the international community and those most expected to speak loudly and repeatedly contently wait, naively or apathetically, for the criminal acts against the Rohingya to dissipate, for their plight to be resolved. Wishful thinking based in part on willful blindness.

Current events show that the Myanmar government and military not only lack the political and moral will to act responsibly, but that they are also comfortable with accepting the commission of purported “acts of genocide” against the Rohingya. Appallingly, the storm of intolerance and indifference that has already stripped the Rohingya of their human dignity, the enjoyment of their inalienable rights, their property, their places of worship, their freedom, and, in far too unacceptable numbers, their lives, is brewing and picking up steam. Time is against the Rohingya.  Time to face the ugly and inconvenient facts.

Before I discuss the ongoing events, a few words about the Rohingya in Myanmar.

Northern Rakhine state (the name commonly given to the townships of Maungdaw and Buthidaung) is located in the west of Myanmar, bordering Bangladesh. It is populated mainly by the Rohingya, but also by other ethnic minorities such as the Rakhine Buddhist. The Rohingya have faced decades of repression and discrimination. The Myanmar government does not recognize them as one of the ethnic groups of the country. Instead, the Rohingya are regarded as mere refugees from Bangladesh.2 The 1982 Citizenship Law effectively denies the Rohingya the possibility of acquiring Myanmar nationality.3Being stateless, they lack legal protection by the government, which results in severe restrictions on their movement, impacting their ability to access healthcare, education, and livelihood opportunities.4

In 2012, religious and ethnic tensions between the Rohingya Muslims and the Rakhine Buddhists escalated into widespread rioting. Since then, ongoing conflicts have forced the Rohingya to flee, though they are often rejected (equally unwanted) by neighboring Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.5

The situation in northern Rakhine state has deteriorated significantly since 9 October 2016 when unknown assailants attacked three police outposts in northern Rakhine state, killing nine Border Guard police officers and seizing weapons and ammunition. The authorities responded by initiating a major security operation, conducting sweeps of the area to find the perpetrators.6

The United Nations (“UN”) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that since early November 2016 almost 27,000 people have fled across the border from northern Rakhine state into Bangladesh.7Government officials in Myanmar have repeatedly denied reports of human rights violations by security forces. Conversely, journalists and NGOs describe the actions of the state forces in the region as ethnic cleansing and genocide, and have reported murders, mass rape and beatings, burning villages, and other human rights violations amounting to crimes against humanity.8

Shockingly, our Buddhist brothers and sisters in Burma have lost the virtue of Buddhism.9

Most recently, a video surfaced showing officers beating members of the Muslim Rohingya during a security operation. This appears to have gotten the attention of the international community.  The selfie-style video showed the brutality of officers kicking and beating civilians and the impunity they feel. And as the saying goes, the evidence never lies. Finally, the government had to confront what it has known and neglected, if not outright encouraged. The government’s past failures to acknowledge, condemn, and act against this cycle of violence has nurtured a culture of impunity.

In the recent Interim Report of the Investigation Commission on Maungtaw, the Investigation Commission established by the government to investigate the attacks on 9 October 2016 dismissed the allegations of genocide: “[T]he increasing population of Mawlawi, mosques and religious edifices are proof that there were no cases of genocide and religious persecution in the region.”10

Characterizing crimes as genocide is often over the top, hyperbolic. Whenever there are large-scale atrocities, the knee-jerk reaction is to claim that genocide is occurring.  And then there is the reverse action by some governments: best not to come out and claim that genocide is occurring – even when rather obvious – for fear that action (boots on the ground) may need to be taken to halt it. We saw this in the case of Rwanda. Better to punt and claim that only “acts of genocide” are taking place, a policy articulated by the Bill Clinton administration.11  Message to those who were perishing or about to: help will be on its way if the situation intensifies to genocide. Comforting. Years later Clinton would get teary-eyed as he admitted his failure to act in the face of overwhelming evidence of what was happening in Rwanda.12

What are acts of genocide? It is like saying that a woman is alittle pregnant. It may make for clever diplomatic speak, but it is just a vacuous phrase. Look beyond the phrase. Where a group (Rohingya Muslims) is being targeted as such, and the intent – as deduced from the actions taken – is at a minimum to maim, permanently expel from Myanmar, and kill them, because of who they are as members of that group (Rohingya Muslims), are there not sufficient hallmarks of genocide (or at the very least traces of extermination) present to merit immediate condemnation and action at the national and international level?13

The Lady speaketh not

What of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and State Counsellor, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi?14 Silence.


Aung San Suu Kyi

Should not the residents of Myanmar, the Rohingya, and the international community, expect more than her purposeful silence, her occasional drab demur, or her belated request for an international commission?   As the de facto head of state,15 and having promoted herself as the doyenne of human rights activists in Myanmar,16 one would think that she would be front and center in condemning these cruel, inhumane, and, yes, genocidal acts.

Is Aung San Suu Kyi’s position so tenuous that she would suffer politically were she to speak out against this systematic violence against the Rohingya?  Is she afraid of any backlash from the military, the police, and those who support, incite, and carry out the physical acts of violence?  Is she just being pragmatic – as any politician of her position should be?

Aung San Suu Kyi’s deafening silence and lame rationalizations give aid and comfort to the perpetrators.  Some argue that she needs a bit more time and space. Take, for instance, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s most recent statement.  Selected to the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, he made the following remarks: “I think there are tensions, there has been fighting, but I wouldn’t put it the way some have done…. [The international community should give Aung San Suu Kyi’s government] a bit of time, space and patience.”17Tensions?  Is Annan serious?

How much more time and how much more space does Aung San Suu Kyi need?  If she can use the bully pulpit to garner votes for her party to win the elections, she can certainly use the bully pulpit to condemn these ongoing acts of crimes against humanity and genocide against the Rohingya.

But is it really a matter of having more time and space, or is it about clinging to and coveting more power? Aung San Suu Kyi may wish to recall and reflect upon her own thoughts on power and the fear of losing it – which seems to be the case with The Lady.

 

 

It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.18

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

The 1988 Rohingya Extermination Blueprint

The 1988 Rohingya Extermination Blueprint

By Haikal Mansor
RB Analysis
January 10, 2017
The 1988 Rohingya Extermination Plan was first proposed by Col. Thar Kyaw who was an ethnic Rakhine and the first chairman of National Unity Party (NUP), a proxy party of Burmese military and former Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) formed to compete against National League for Democracy NLD during the 1990 general election.
The plan was adopted by the Burmese junta’s State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) in 1988 and continued under State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).
The successive military regime has carried out the 11-point extermination blueprint against Rohingya Muslim minority.
1. The Muslims (Rohingya) are not to be provided with citizenship cards by identifying them as insurgents
2. To reduce the population growth of the Rohingyas by gradual imposition of restrictions on their marriages and by application of all possible methods of oppression and suppression against them
3. To strive for the increase in Buddhist population to be more than the number of Muslim people by way of establishing Natala villages in Arakan (Rakhine State) with Buddhist settlers from different townships and from out of the country
4. To allow them temporary moment from village to village and township to township only with Form 4, and to totally ban them travelling to Sittwe, the Capital of Arakan State
5. To forbid higher studies (university education) to the Rohingyas
6. No Muslim is to be appointed in government services
7. To forbid them from ownership of lands, shops and buildings. Any such properties under their existing ownership must be confiscated for distribution among the Buddhists. All their economic activities must be stopped.
8. To ban construction, renovation, repair and roofing of the mosques, Islamic religious schools and dwelling houses of the Rohingyas
9. To try secretly to convert the Muslims into Buddhism
10. Whenever there is a case between Rakhine and Muslim the court shall give verdict in favour of Rakhine when the case is between Muslim themselves, the court shall favour the rich against the poor Muslim so that the latter leaves the country with frustration
11. Mass killing of the Muslim is to be avoided in order not to invite the attention of the Muslim countries.
Since its inception, the blueprint is a driving force for the military regime, Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government and even Aung San Suu Kyi led NLD government in persecution of Rohingya.
The ongoing “clearance operations” in northern Maungdaw is an example of deep-rooted decades-long extermination campaign against the marginalized Rohingya.
The blueprint still remains one of many institutionalized policies largely instrumented against the entire community.

 

Source by: http://www.rohingyablogger.com

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

‘There Are No Homes Left’: Rohingya Tell of Rape, Fire and Death in Myanmar

KUTUPALONG CAMP, Bangladesh — When the Myanmar military closed in on the village of Pwint Phyu Chaung, everyone had a few seconds to make a choice.

Noor Ankis, 25, chose to remain in her house, where she was told to kneel to be beaten, she said, until soldiers led her to the place where women were raped. Rashida Begum, 22, chose to plunge with her three children into a deep, swift-running creek, only to watch as her baby daughter slipped from her grasp.

WHO ARE THE ROHINGYA?

  • More than one million people in Myanmar identify as Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim group living mainly in Rakhine State on the country’s western coast.
  • The Myanmar government says the Rohingya are not a genuine ethnic group but are Bengali migrants whose presence is a legacy of colonial times. In a country where anti-Muslim sentiment is widespread, the Rohingya are often persecuted.
  • Rohingya are denied citizenship, freedom to travel, accesses to education and other benefits in Myanmar.
  • According to human rights groups, the Myanmar military has entered Rohingya villages and shot people at random, razed houses, and systematically raped girls and women. The government denies allegations of genocide.
  • Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya live in squalid refugee camps in Bangladesh. The government there denies that Rohingya from Myanmar are ethnic Bengalis and has tried to close its borders to the migrants.

Sufayat Ullah, 20, also chose the creek. He stayed in the water for two days and finally emerged to find that soldiers had set his family home on fire, leaving his mother, father and two brothers to asphyxiate inside.

These accounts and others, given over the last few days by refugees who fled Myanmar and are now living in Bangladesh, shed light on the violence that has unfolded in Myanmar in recent months as security forces there carry out a brutal counterinsurgency campaign.

Their stories, though impossible to confirm independently, generally align with reports by human rights organizations that the military entered villages in northern Rakhine State shooting at random, set houses on fire with rocket launchers, and systematically raped girls and women. At least 1,500 homes were razed, according to an analysis of satellite images by Human Rights Watch.

The campaign, which has moved south in recent weeks, seems likely to continue until Myanmar’s government is satisfied that it has fully disarmed the militancy that has arisen among the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic group that has been persecuted for decades in majority-Buddhist Myanmar.

“There is a risk that we haven’t seen the worst of this yet,” said Matthew Smith of Fortify Rights, a nongovernmental organization focusing on human rights in Southeast Asia. “We’re not sure what the state security forces will do next, but we do know attacks on civilians are continuing.”

A commission appointed by Myanmar’s government last week denied allegations that its military was committing genocide in the villages, which have been closed to Western journalists and human rights investigators. Officials have said Rohingya forces are setting fire to their own houses and have denied most charges of human rights abuses, with the exception of a beating that was captured on video. Myanmar’s leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize, has been criticized for failing to respond more forcefully to the violence.

Continue reading the main story

 A destroyed house near Maungdaw in Rakhine State. At least 1,500 homes have been razed, according to Human Rights Watch. CreditNyien Chan Naing/European Pressphoto Agency

The crackdown began after an attack on three border posts in Rakhine State in October, in which nine police officers were killed. The attack is believed to have been carried out by an until-then-unknown armed Rohingya insurgent group.

The military campaign, which the government describes as a “clearing” operation, has largely targeted civilians, human rights groups say. It has sent an estimated 65,000 Rohingya fleeing across the border to Bangladesh, according to the International Organization for Migration.

“They started coming in like the tide,” said Dudu Miah, a Rohingya refugee who is chairman of the management committee at the Leda refugee camp, near the border with Myanmar. “They were acting crazy. They were a mess. They were saying, ‘They’ve killed my father, they’ve killed my mother, they’ve beaten me up.’ They were in disarray.”

Soldiers were attacking villages just across the Naf River, which separates Myanmar from Bangladesh, so close that Bangladeshis could see columns of smoke rise from burning villages on the other side, said Nazir Ahmed, the imam of a mosque that caters to Rohingyas.

He said it was true that some Rohingya, enraged by years of mistreatment by Myanmar forces, had organized themselves into a crude militant force, but that Myanmar had dramatically exaggerated its proportions and seriousness.

Rohingyas are “frustrated, and they are picking up sticks and making a call to defend themselves,” he said. “Now, if they find a farmer who has a machete at home, they say, ‘You are engaged in terrorism.’”

An analysis released last month by the International Crisis Group took a serious view of the new militant group, which it says is financed and organized by Rohingya émigrés in Saudi Arabia. Further violence, it warned, could accelerate radicalization among the Rohingya, who could become willing instruments of transnational jihadist groups.

In interviews in and around the Kutupalong and Leda refugee camps here, Rohingya who fled Myanmar in recent weeks said that military personnel initially went house to house seeking adult men, and then proceeded to rape women and burn homes. Many new arrivals are from Kyet Yoepin, a village where 245 buildings were destroyed during a two-day sweep in mid-October, according to Human Rights Watch.

Continue reading the main story

 Bangladeshi border guards at a common transit point for the Rohingya on the banks of the Naf River, which separates Myanmar from Bangladesh. CreditA.M. Ahad/Associated Press

Muhammad Shafiq, who is in his mid-20s, said he was at home with his family when he heard gunfire. Soldiers in camouflage banged on the door, then shot at it, he said. When he let them in, he said, “they took the women away, and lined up the men.”

Mr. Shafiq said that when a soldier grabbed his sister’s hand, he lunged at him, fearful the soldier intended to rape her, and was beaten so severely that the soldiers left him for dead. Later, he bolted with one of his children and was grazed by a soldier’s bullet on his elbow. He crawled for an hour on his hands and knees through a rice field, then watched, from a safe vantage point, as troops set fire to what remained of Kyet Yoepin.

“There are no homes left,” he said. “Everything is burned.”

Jannatul Mawa, 25, who is from the same village, said she crawled toward the next village overnight, passing the shadowy forms of dead and wounded neighbors.

“Some were shot, some were killed with a blade,” she said. “Wherever they could find people, they were killing them.”

Dozens more families are from Pwint Phyu Chaung, which was near the site of a clash between militants and soldiers on Nov. 12.

According to Amnesty International, the militants scattered into neighboring villages. When army troops followed them, several hundred men from Pwint Phyu Chaung resisted, using crude weapons like farm implements and knives, the report said. A Myanmar army lieutenant colonel was shot dead, and the troops called in air support from two attack helicopters.

Mumtaz Begum, 40, said she was awakened at dawn when security forces approached the village from both sides and began searching for adult men in each house.

She said she and her daughter were told to kneel down outside their home with their hands over their heads and were beaten with bamboo clubs.

Mumtaz Begum, 40, told of members of her family who were arrested, beaten, shot in the leg or killed. Her daughter described being grouped with young women to be raped.CreditEllen Barry/The New York Times

She said her 10-year-old son was shot through the leg, her daughter’s husband was arrested, and her own husband was one of dozens of men and boys in the village who were killed by soldiers armed with guns or machetes that night. Villagers, she said, “laid the bodies down in a line in the mosque and counted them.”

Ms. Begum’s daughter, Noor Ankis, 25, said the next morning soldiers went from house to house looking for young women.

“They grouped the women together and brought them to one place,” she said. “The ones they liked they raped. It was just the girls and the military, no one else was there.”

She said the idea of trying to escape flickered through her head, but she was overcome by fatalism. “I felt there was no point in being alive,” she said.

Ms. Ankis pulled her head scarf low, for a moment, removing a tear. She said she had been thinking about her husband.

“I think about how he took care of me after we got married,” she said. “How will I see him again?”

Sufayat Ullah, 20, a madrasa student, said that he was home with his family on the morning of the attack and that the first thing he registered was the sound of gunfire. He realized quickly, he said, that he could only survive by escaping. “When they found people close by, they attacked them with machetes,” he said. “If they were far away, they shot them.”

Mr. Ullah ran from the house and bolted for the creek at the edge of town, and he dived in, swimming as far as he could. He said he spent much of the next two days underwater, finally scrambling onto the bank near a neighboring village. Only then did he learn that his mother, father and two brothers had burned to death inside the family house.

“I feel no peace,” he said, covering his face with his hands and weeping. “They killed my father and mother. What is left for me in this world?”

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized